A couple of weeks ago, I went for dinner at Hummingbird, and as well as eating fish tacos with my girlfriend (oh grow up!), we ordered the Lamb for Two.
What we got was lamb shank with couscous, chargrilled flatbreads, the creamiest hummus ever, baba ganoush, some pickles and the most amazingly tender and flavoursome slow cooked lamb shoulder. Honestly, the shoulder tasted like the lamb had eaten all the other lambs in the world, that’s how intense the flavour was. It was outstanding. I have since learned that the reason the shoulder tasted so amazing (apart from being cooked so expertly) was because it was Silere Merino.
“The natural, foraging lifestyle of the Merino and the influence of their high country environment create defined flavours in the meat, along with a silky-smooth texture, succulence and appealing density. Dining on SILERE alpine origin merino is to experience taste elevated.”
What this means is that you get all the flavour without any of that greasy mouth feel lamb can sometimes have. Hummingbird’s lamb for two was $75, I think, and totally worth it. Frankly, with a side of the most amazing roast potatoes ever, it would happily be lamb for three. If you like lamb, you should definitely go and try it for yourselves. You can also order a variety of cuts of lamb on the Silere website to cook it for yourself, as I’m looking forward to trying. It won’t be the cheapest meat you ever buy, but it might just be one of the best.
I’ll put the menu here, then I’ll hide the rest of the pictures under a jump cut for those of you who don’t think you’ll be able to handle the jealousy.
We (a mix of old media with pen & paper, new media with Instagram and bigger appetites, and hospitality insiders) were led down to the kitchen table underneath Bettys [sic], where we got to watch our food being cooked in front of us, hear about what we were eating and drinking, and ask questions as we went along.
Fillet, oyster cream, cucumber, dill, rye served with Nautilus Cuvee Malborough Brut NV
The first course was fillet served with flavours like steak tartare, topped with an oyster cream that made me realise that I do actually like the taste of oysters, but not their texture. The Silere branded stones on the table were exceptionally popular with the diners too, being great to fidget with between courses. The Nautilus bubbly was a lovely wine to start with as well.
Sweetbread, salmon, beet, cheese, horseradish served with Nautilus Malborough Pinot Noir 2010
I had never had sweetbreads before this, and when I saw them on the menu all I could think about was Donna and Brenda in Paris. Turns out I am an idiot (who knew?) because sweetbreads aren’t actually brains. Glen described them as the best chicken nuggets ever, and I think that’s a pretty good description. In fact, others around the table reminicsed about how you used to be able to order crumbed sweetbreads at Homestead Chicken. In the olden days. I’m worried though that other sweetbreads will pale in comparison to these magnificent yums, so I don’t know if I’d order them anywhere else.
Saddle, crayfish, grains, raisin, pomegranate, spice served with Nautilus Malborough Pinot Noir 2009
This was the first time that I’ve ever had crayfish, and it was firmer than I expected it to be. The lamb saddle was succulent, but I wish it wasn’t quite so lean because the tiny bit of fat on it was so delicious, I wanted more. I was also amazed at how juicy the raisins were, because usually I curse their very existence and mourn the wine they could have been.
Pot au feu, rack, belly, shoulder, carrot, peas, served with Nautilus Malborough Pinot Noir 2008
Did you know that the best way to clean a frenched bone (heh heh heh) is apparently with string? I preferred to suck on mine. The carrot custard was as smooth as a Ryan Gosling meme, but I think the best part of this course was actually the belly, because it incredibly rich and unctuous.
Shortrib, shallot, potato, BBQ, miso served with Nautilus Malborough Pinot Noir 2007
My photo attempts at this dish completely failed, which is a shame because it was served up on beautiful pohutakawa boards that Hummingbird will be using from now on for its charcuterie, with a beautiful bright green puddle of spinach. The meat was gorgeously smoky, so luckily the ’07 Pinot Noir was up for the challenge.
Parfait, lemon thyme, blueberry, elderflower
There were SO MANY beautiful things going on this plate (later on Twitter, Glen said “lemon thyme, wood sorrel, blueberry, elderflower, lilette, raspberry, fresh merino curd”) and yet somehow it all just worked.
What an amazing evening. Obviously it was a one-off I was incredibly lucky to be invited to, but you can go get the Lamb for Two at Hummingbird, order Silere merino to cook for yourself, buy Nautilus in a bunch of places, or even book out the private dining room and ask them to recreate the whole evening for you. I bet they’d be up for the challenge!